Friday, January 29, 2010

They Won!

from Eddie via Facebook:

WE WON!! Of the $5,000 earnings, $2,500 will be donated to children most affected by the earthquake in Haiti and $2,500 will be going to God's Love We Deliver. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who voted!! We could not have done it with out you!!! xo Eddie + Jaithan

Congratulstions! Well done and well said!

Weekend Project

I'm in the middle of redoing my dining room. I started last weekend, and hope to get most of it done this weekend. It's a major change that I will share with you when it's done.
So back to work for me.
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

It's Eddie Ross Day!

Vote for Eddie Ross HERE - It's the last day!

In case you have been really out of the loop, Eddie Ross is in a contest. He did a fab window for Elle Decor at Bloomingdales. The voting has been going for a week and TODAY is the last day.
Even if you have voted before you can vote again. Please vote, and tell your friends and your followers and your readers to vote too. Happy Eddie Ross Day!

And if you are in New York, stop by the party tonight at Bloomingdales!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Small Masterpieces

Have you ever longed for beautiful heirloom china, glassware, and flatware. Or to have perhaps wonderful vintage napkins with deep monograms. Maybe some family pieces have been passed along to you, or maybe you've lovingly collected over the years, culling shops and flea markets and estate sales. Do you have enough for a party for 75? Or at least for dinner party in your dining room? Perhaps you are too young to have such time earned treasures, or maybe encumbered by the budget of setting up house and home for the first time

Well here's the thing: There's a guy named Jason Murakawa who has a party rental company specializing in antique and vintage tableware.

His company Small Masterpiece is all about the etiquette of setting a table. The Small Masterpiece Collection uniquely stands alone by integrating modern day decor with original, rentable 18th and 19th century antique tableware.

Murakawa is a graphic designer, and has the heart of a collector and the eye of a stylist. Each piece he rents and shares has meaning and provenance.

The wares available are Haviland Limoges China, Early American Pressed Flint and Glass Goblets, Ironstone China, and Flip Glass.

There is also a stock of Early American pressed glass cake stands, antique monogrammed sterling silver or silver plated flatware and napkin rings, heirloom monogrammed vintage damask table linens, slat folding lodge chairs, primitive folding sewing tables, Early American pressed glass celery vases, reclaimed old bottles from Battle Creek, Michigan, and Early American pressed glass water pitchers.

Small Masterpiece owner Jason Murakawa bills himself as the irreverent Martha Stewart. Jason breaks the mold of traditional table settings. He strives for tabletop designs that don’t look sterile and perfect.

Whether you are using twenty tomato sauce cans for vases because red is part of the color scheme, or going to a lumber company having mill squares cut to different heights as platforms for small vases or, collecting long beautiful Eucalyptus leaves from a park for place cards, if the tabletop reflects confidence and deliberate style, all will be enchanted.

Jason suggests focusing color on either the centerpiece or place setting, not both. Remember to have a sense of balance of decor and open space which will give a sense of order and neatness. Less is more and neatness gives order.

For round tables, centerpieces should be soft and organic. An alternative centerpiece for round tables is provide each person with an individual centerpiece above the place setting. Guests could take them home as a parting gift.

Tables should look friendly and inviting but have formality when called for. When thinking about tabletop decor it’s about party environment and making creative atmosphere that guests will enjoy and remember.

I love the idea of this company. I have cupboards filled with this kind of stuff. I can't give enough dinner parties to use it all! When Alberto and I had a larger space, we put on a couple of sit down dinner parties for 50 people, and my collection is large enough to artfully mix and match table settings for all.

Now, because of time and financial constraints, we entertain less. But once in awhile we throw caution to the wind and manage sit down dinner parties for 6 to up to 14. Of course I use my things for just the two of us, or perhaps smaller informal suppers for one or two friends. I can rotate old things to always create different and new and pretty table settings.

A humble meal can be elevated when you set the table, and use antique ironstone serving pieces.

Small Masterpieces is located in Los Angeles. I don't think it would be practical to ship these precious things outside of the Los Angeles area. Don't wait for Jason Murakawa to franchise his good idea. Start a masterpiece collection of your own, and rent it out.
I think Eddie Ross should do this, or maybe blogger Bill from Affordable Accoutrements (who both inspired me to do this post).

Bill from Affordable Accoutrements has a great collection of lovely old things

photos from Small Masterpiece

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Black And Gold Roundup

By now you may have heard that the New Orleans Saints won tonite and are going to the Super Bowl!

So here's a little roundup of black and gold decor images to salute their win.

People are in the streets, screaming and yelling. Fireworks and firecrackers are exploding. Car horns are blaring. It is going to be a long and nosiy night of emotional jubilation!

I cried. Alberto cried. It's all wrapped up with post Katrina healing.

To see the Superdome filled with pride and joy instead of shame and despair is really something.

I really miss all our friends who couldn't come back, and I dedicate this post to them.

So kick back and enjoy the black and gold decor.

I got some celebrating to do!

Who dat?!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Readers Projects 3: Jenny and Carla

For this installment of Readers Projects we first have Jenny who writes the outspoken, heartfelt, often witty and hilarious, and highly informative blog My Favorite and My Best.
Readers Projects is a regular feature and I would love if you please send me photos of your rooms or your work to post and share (email

The Living Room of Jenny Andrews of My favorite and My Best

This is Jenny's small style packed living room. White slipcover - check. Cowhide rug - check. Craigslist score - check. Vintage accents - check. Interesting art work -check. I spy a Suzani!

The Suzani in Jenny's house is draped on a table under the flat screen TV. She said it came from a sale at Anthropologie.

Next we have Carla Sue Fox, a reader who makes gorgeous one-of-kind jewelry.

Carla began her interest in jewelry design and creation after inheriting her grandmother’s collection of vintage and antique jewelry. Because so many pieces were unwearable, either because they were broken or simply too large, she started experimenting with using these pieces in her new designs.

Her first love is and always will be interior design. However, being in the interior design industry has brought a focused eye to her jewelry designing process.

Using those same principles of design, Carla creates one of a kind wearable art using semi-precious gemstones, sterling silver, fresh water pearls and beads, and incorporating vintage components. Contact her by e-mail:

On a completely different topic: I have it from a very good source that Dwell Magazine is on the verge of shutting down.

And hang onto your wig hair! The same reputable source alleged that Elle Decor won't last the year.

Don't scream at me. Of course I can't tell you who told me, but believe me, it is someone who knows. We'll just have to wait and see (and save our precious issues!).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Confessions Of A Stylist

We have all seen something in a magazine that inspires us so much that we want to try to replicate it our own homes. My imagination went on a pleasant journey courtesy of House Beautiful and Jill Brinson. Jill is an uber stylist now segueing into interior design.
I am a stylist as well. Most of my work takes place in the shop I work in. I style the displays, as well photograph merchandise for the web site, and for the shop blog I write and manage. Occasionally I do a free lance project too.

I decided to play, to create a Brinson-like vignette. Of course I don't have the same house or colors or the same things she has. I don't have the resources to go out and buy things to replicate the Brinson magic. And I don't have the talented Rob Brinson to do the photography. But I do have imagination and talent. And my trusty digital camera ha ha.

So I got together some things, begged and borrowed and bought on a budget, and spent a few days playing.

Valorie Hart Designs a fun FAUX House Beautiful Cover
You can make one f0r yourself too HERE

I looked for visual elements that had a similar feeling, not literal. For example, the circle of the clock filled in for the circles of the candle sconces. My little Saarinen stool filled in for Jill's ethnic one. I borrowed a higher coffee table. It's not as cool as Jill's metal one, but the scale was right. I added the antique French metal folding chair for my metal accent.

I picked up my rug, and added my white cow hide to the floor.

I purchased some very inexpensive paisley print pillows in the same vein as Jill's , but certainly not the quality of what looked to be Les Indiennes textiles.

I had a pink throw, so I thought I'd work off that color for the flower color choice. Jill's throw and flowers looked more fuchsia. Instead of a large vessel for the flowers, I used three antique mercury glass bottles I already own. I tried to use the same scale of objects that were on Jill's coffee table, although again it was not a literal copy. For instance I chose my Cara Croninger heart pendant in place of the white shell necklace.

I didn't have a small tray, so I used a framed photo, and an oyster shell instead of a rock. I also took the white cowhide off the floor and out of the picture all together. I traded it for the brown one - I mean I literally traded my white one for the brown one. My couch is a totally different shape and size than Jill's, but I think the general idea is conveyed.

Next I switched to lavender accents. Again I had the throw. I switched out the pink roses for purple stock. I don't have a table lamp like the one Jill has, but my old tin floor lamp and black shade have a nice gestalt in front of the side table stacked with books. My art work above the side table is about the same scale as Jill's. The lamp and table is on the opposite side as in the HB photo, but I didn't feel the need to switch them to the other side of the couch. Again, I was not trying to copy the look directly.

I switched out a neutral pillow for a lavender Ikat. The couch is longer than Jill's so I had to use more pillows to get the scale better. The brown pillows behind the paisley are my Ikat pillows turned to the back side.

Jill had an apple on her table. It was brown and mine is white. My stack of books is a set of small reference books I covered with white paper and tied with twine.

All the elements are there, but different.

Cholo keeps me company whenever I do anything. After I styled this all up I decided that the bare floors don't work visually for the room. I also am getting back my white Saarinen coffee table! I am a cottage lady from way back so I thought this antique tea table would make me swoon, but after living with for a few days, I'm bringing back my modern edge ha ha.

This is the room after the fantasy shoot. I put my original rug back, and my original pillows.

I like the brown cowhide on the couch. I thought that the two cowhides would feel like Rancho Vamp, but actually they work very well together.

Things never turn out like they look in the magazine. Still it's fun to play. I think the key is not to copy literally, but to use your own things and personality in conjunction with what inspires you.

Hope you enjoyed my little my flight of fancy.